Strength of Schedule

If you've been paying close attention to the NCAA basketball selection and seeding process, it's abundantly clear that strength of schedule matters.  By some rankings, Southern Methodist might have been worthy of an 8-seed in the NCAA tournament.  But because their schedule (particularly the non-conference portion) was so weak, they were left out of the field entirely.  Given that the football playoff is going to use a similar committee approach to select four teams this year, you should expect strength of schedule for college teams to be similarly important.

 

If you use the fairly simple strength of schedule method used by the NCAA for football, Nebraska has a top 25 schedule in 2014 based on last year's finish.  In the Big Ten, only newcomer Rutgers (#9) and doormats Illinois (#21) and Indiana (#24) are tougher.

In terms of teams with a hope to contend for a playoff spot, South Carolina is #13 and Auburn is #16.  But programs like Florida State (#47), Alabama (#95), Oregon (#49), Oklahoma (#93), Ohio State (#35), UCLA (#60), Michigan State (#55), and Baylor (#67), who should all be getting some preseason hype, are much lower.     

You'd suspect that the strength of schedule used in December will be different and based on the win-loss records for 2014 versus 2013.  Still, it will be interesting to see how ties are broken to determine who gets the last couple of playoff spots.  If Alabama or Oklahoma stumble, will their schedule be considered too weak?  Could South Carolina sneak in with a pair of losses?

Unlike Southern Methodist, one of the teams left out of the football playoff on the basis of their schedule could have a legitimate claim to being the best team in the country.   Keep in mind the precedent used by the NCAA for basketball.  For once, the Huskers can be glad they have a tough schedule.  It should be good enough to allow them to control their own destiny and perhaps even survive a bad outing, which is all you can ask for going into a season. 

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Comments 19 comments so far

How does the top team in the toughest conference have the #95 toughest schedule?  They have 7 home games, I understand there non conference is weak but if you play 8 games in the toughest conference how can you still have the #95 toughest schedule.  I suppose ESPN will start ranking higher any opponent the SEC teams play now so they can get into the championship playoffs even with 2 losses.  Western Carolina will be preseason top 25 team now.

Because the SEC Schedules are weak for most teams as well.. YES BAMA , LSU, South Carolina, and a few others are good but the rest are horrible.. Ive been saying that all along.. Most of the top teams in the SEC play 2-4 tough games.. Most go 2-2 and then they are considered great..

Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida lately, Miss ST, Ole Miss, Missouri, Arkansas, VAndy has been better but ok in any other conference.. Look at how horrible AUburn was two years ago..

Here is this years BAMA Schedule .. Now this isn’t an exact science but based on last years teams, only thing to go off of at this point.. Here is their schedule

Aug. 30 West Virginia Atlanta, Georgia - Hardly a natural site.. (4-8)
Sept. 6 Florida Atlantic Bryant-Denny Stadium - (6-6) Best win FIU
Sept. 13 Southern Miss Bryant-Denny Stadium - (1-11)
Sept. 20 *Florida Bryant-Denny Stadium - Have you seen them play lately (4-8)
Oct. 4 *at Ole Miss Oxford, Mississippi (8-5) OK Team
Oct. 11 *at Arkansas Fayetteville, Arkansas (3-9)
Oct. 18 *Texas A&M Bryant-Denny Stadium- (9-4) Remember they lost Johnny
Oct. 25 *at Tennessee Knoxville, Tennessee (5-7) Beat South Carolina other wins Austin Pea, Western Kentucky, South Alabama , Kentucky
Nov. 8 *at LSU Baton Rouge, Louisiana ——TOUGH TEAM (10-3)
Nov. 15 *Mississippi State Bryant-Denny Stadium ??????(7-6) Best win Ole Miss, Other wins Arkansas, Rice, Kentucky, Bowling Green , Troy and Alcorn State
Nov. 22 Western Carolina Bryant-Denny Stadium ?????? (2-10) Wins over Elon and Mars Hill?
Nov. 29 *Auburn Bryant-Denny Stadium TOUGH TEAM (12-2)

SO out of Bama’s schedule , mind they don’t get the luxury of themselves, here is a recap

Good Teams/Great TEams- LSU, AUBURN, Texas AM ( Probably will be ok without Johnny)... Even if they go 1-2 here probably only two losses still top 10 at the end of the season but look at the rest

Ok Teams-  Maybe Ole Miss?
Horrible Teams - Florida Atlantic, Southern Miss, Western Carolina, Miss State, Tennessee, Arkansas, West Virginia, Florida

So Alabama by schedule alone should lose no more than two games going off of the strength of teams last year. Looking at that schedule is why they are ranked 90th

Florida Atlantic (6-6) Best win FIU
McNeese State (10-3) At least better of lesser division
Fresno State (11-2)- Boise State, Nevada , etc
Miami (9-4) Best Virginia, Pitt, Wake, Georgia Tech, Florida
Illinois (4-8)  - Cinci, Miami of Ohio
Michigan State (13-1)- Stanford, Ohio State, Us, Iowa, Minnesota
Northwestern (5-7)- Cal and Syracuse
Rutgers (6-7) Beat Arkansas and Temple
Purdue (1-11) - Horrible
Wisconsin (9-4) - Iowa, Minneosta, BYU, Northwestern
Minnesota (8-5)- US , Northwestern , Penn State- Losses Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan State
Iowa (8-5)- Only lost to top 25 teams, was within a touchdown of LSU

So now lets compare

Good to Great Teams- Wisconsin , Michigan State, Miami?
Ok- Fresno State, Iowa , Minnesota
Horrible- Florida Atlantic, Purdue, Illinois

Does strength of sched have anything at all to do with how good you are?  Bama, does NOT have the 95th toughest schedule, sorry.

Twa,

SEC:  Bama, LSU, aTm, Mizzou, SCar, GA, FLA, Vandy, Aub, Ol Miss.  Doesn anybody want to play those teams?  Not really.  That’s 10 out of 14.  Tell me, who are the “horrible” teams in the SEC again?

I don’t know how pre-season SOS is calculated, but I would think it’s not just an average rating of the teams played, but rather would take into consideration the probability of beating each team (I don’t care how badly), and thus the probable W/L record for the year.  But I’m “probably” wrong.

Strength of sched, to me, means, the strength of the enemy.  But, since, Indy and ILL, for e.g., are high on the SOS rankings, yeah, probably cuz they dont bring much fight to the table, so bout anybody could beat em, hence, any sched would be ‘strong’ in relation to them.  Looks like thats how its done.

Triump Iwould play Florida, Vanderbilt and ole miss in a heartbeat .. A& M was so so before Johnny and the move to the wec but they are a good team.. Did they really go from mid tier of a lesser conference to the top of a superior one ? Or is their less of a difference in the conference.

Remember Bama can’t play Bama.. And LSU, ATM and Auburn are the tough teams on their schedule.. Sorry Ole Miss hasn’t proved anything to me, they beat Texas when they were in shambles. Florida is horrible.. Just because they are named Florida dosnt mean the are good.. 4-8 and got beat by third tier team who didn’t complete a pass..

So, if, say, you are a bottom of the barrel team in the MAC, then, according to the SOS protocol, the MAC teams you are playing are ‘stronger’ than, say, the B1G teams that Brasky plays since Brasky has some juice.  So, in other words, the SOS rankings are shit—worthless.

And why do you think Missouri had the win loss record it did? Its because they like Bama had three tough games.  Win one and a two loss season makes you look good. Again not saying the top isn’t good just that the bottom is horrible.  Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, Miss St, last year equalled horrible.. Candy and old miss improved but much of it was at the demise of the other programs.. That leaves Bama, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas AM, and Missouri as said good teams.. So take out playing yoursekf.. 6 possible good teams on their schedule if they play everyone which they Dont.. Again look at the final sec standings and realize most teams that went 2-2 or 1-2 in those games ended up in the top 15..  Add horrible non conferencevschedules ( other than LSU , Georgia and normally Bama not this year though) and most of the sec elite have 4 tough games in a year..  People around here made fun of us for a bad non conference schedule but Wyoming would have been one of the Secs top non conference games if you take out georgia , LSU, Bama

Twa,

I would like to see ‘you’ play ANY entire CFB team all by yourself, in fact, I’d pay.

But nossir, ‘you’ do not want to play FLA next year, if only based on athleticism differential(i.e., they playas is most likely better and faster than yo playas), or aTm, or Mizzou, or GA, etc, and there is a REASON why LSU frequently goes 8-4 on the year:  they dont get those losses out of conference.  their division is tops in the land.  KY is pulling down some highly ranked recruiting classes the last few go ‘rounds too.  TN too:

‘14
TN 5th
KY 17th

‘13
TN 21st
KY 29th

Doesnt matter how, why, or when they got there, fact is, the SEC has 10/14 teams that nobody voluntarily wants to put on their schedule.

Twa,

Mizzou, uh, let’s go backwards:  beat Okie St(#13), beat Johnny Fuhball(#21), beat Ol Miss(#24), beat FLA(#22), beat GA(#7), close loss to SC in OT(#21), and CGG loss to Aub(#3).  They also beat Vandy which finished #24 in the AP and, oh wait, NE didnt rank in the AP at year’s end. Lemme see, that’s 1, 2, 3…, 8 quality opponents played, 6 beaten.

Your move…

Poll rankings relative to when the game was played ^^^

SCar finished the year #4. aTm #18.  Vandy #24. Okie t #17.  Aub #2.  By comparison, Brasky’s greatest feats in ‘13 included losing in embarrassing fashion to #3 Sparta, and NOT playing #12 tOSU and NOT playing #22 Wiscy, the only 3 teams who finished in the AP poll.

Again, your move.

Mizzou finished #5 in the country, playing in the SEC, year 2.  When was the last time Brasky finished #5?  Sorry, amigo, I gotta pile on here as your premise that the SEC ‘ain’t no thang’ is completely absurd.

Yeah, ok, the SEC, in the world of Twa, is ‘weak’, in fact, only 4 of the teams dont suck.  So, in lieu of that opinion, I have taken it upon myself to bag Brasky’s ‘14 sched and replace it with THIS:

Preseason:

Bama
SCar
Aub
LSU

Reg season:

Vandy
aTm
Bama
Ol Miss
FLA
Mizzou
LSU
SCar

CCG:

NOT

Bowl:

Aub

Oh wait, Brasky no qualify for bowl in the above scenario.

Triumph again didn’t say Sec is weak .. I said the bottom half is and that’s the reason for Bamas strength of schedule.. Top half is great bottom is not sorry.. Vanderbilt was ranked solely because they are in the sec.. Perfect example of riding the tops coat tails. Same with Ole Miss .. They were an improved team no doubt but if they were in the Big 10 they wouldn’t have been ranked. Tell me why they deserved a top 25 ranking because I Dont see it. Missery was ranked high because they got 3 tough sec games.. South Carolina A&M, Auburn.. How did those games turn out? Sorry Candy and Ole Miss Dont count.. Georgia played Missouri when they were hurt but Georgia this last year wasn’t as good.. I Dont give a crap on how inflated any of those teams rankings were when they played I only care how good they actually are. .. When you play nobody in non conference and start the year off with Kentucky etc and end up 7-0 I’m not impressed.. And to satisfy your misery love.. I’ll admit they are closer to the top then the horrible bottom. I was trying to show that they had a favoriable sec schedule compared to others.. And also if the top sec teams all played each other it would be different but they usually only play four tough teams from conference.. Florida and Georgia got the closest to playing the brunt end of the conference and their records showed it

Ol Miss(8-5), 4 of 5 losses to top 10 teams, oh wait, those top 10 teams are in the SEC:  Bama, aTm, Aub, Mizzou, uh , top 5?  Noteworthy wins:  LSU(#6), TX(B12 runner up champ).  One could argue they put up a good fight in all those games except for Bama(0-25). 

Lemme see, Ol Miss recruiting:  ‘14/19th, ‘13/7th.  Ol Miss, if we played them next year, I’d probably have to favor…..them.

Vandy, to me, is like the jNU of the SEC.  Didn’t Brasky need a mircale play or something to steal a W from jNU, yea, think so.  So, one could argue Vandy is on par with Brasky.  Game would be even odds.  Recruiting:  ‘13/19th, better than Brasky, eh?  ‘14 record, 9-4(same as Brasky), all 4 losses to SEC teams—aTm, SCar, Mizzou, and ding ding ding, Ol Miss—no out of conf. losses.  Noteworthy win vs Murray led GA(#15).  Has Brasky beaten a Murray led GA?  Unfortunately Vandy just lost their stellar coach, oh wait, he went to PSU—now why would PSU want a coach who ‘rides on the coat tails” of others?  It’s not like he went wo WYO, dig?

Your supposition that Mizzou doesnt deserve what they got last year—number 5 in the country—is just plain goofy.

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